Re: Second boat suggestions?
I hear you on the calculus of what boat to buy for wherever you choose to sail. At least you have some options: Chessy, Delaware, Jersey shore.
You are also correct about boats in the 27 - 30' range in that usually they are deeper keeled, for good reason.
I happen to love sailing on salty water, like the LI Sound. The salt gets on you even if you don't go swimming if you are out there long enough. I have had to compromise and we moved our boat from the Sound to 30 miles up the Hudson, which is brackish and tidal like the lower Delaware. The Hudson is also pretty deep compared to the Jersey shore. There is also a nearly 2 knot current in the Hudson that comes and goes with the tides, like the Delaware. The current only adds to the challenge especially when racing. All locations are compromises just as each boat is a compromise.
The Chessy can be a great place to sail as well but is fairly shallow, but not quite as shallow as the Jersey shore. The summer traffic getting to and from there could add a hassle factor, just as keeping our boat on the LI Sound was a traffic nightmare sometimes. I assume that there can be some traffic getting to the Jersey shore on weekends as well.
If you really like the salty Jersey shore you might consider staying at 25 - 26 feet in boat length. Have you looked at any O'Day 25's? There are 2 at our club. Yes, these are center board boats but that makes them easier to get off any grounding. I was impressed with the size of the cabin on the O'Day 25' I looked at. The cabin on the O 25 might be bigger than my old Tartan 27' (shoal keel of 3'6" - but yes, center board). The O 25 cabin might not be much bigger than your C 25 though.
The Catalina 30' cabin will seem immense though compared to the above boats. Finding a C30 for < 10K in good working order will be a trick though. There may be several at rock bottom prices after Sandy but they may need a lot of work. Choosing a boat like this would likely rule out sailing on the Jersey shore where you were though.
It's all about compromises.
"The cure for anything is salt water~ sweat, tears, or the sea." ~Isak Denesen
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